German Opener/Strategy (Slightly long-winded)

  • Hey. I’m a fairly new Axis & Allies player in a fairly new group of five, and being one to love a challenge, I’ve opted to play as an Axis player exclusively during our weekly gaming session. So far, I’ve only played Japan, but this up coming week I’ll be taking on the daunting task of giving Germany a shot. As a Japanese player, life has been great, as our United State’s realizes that initially stepping up to my navy is generally fruitless, and even after our British player reinforces his India Industrial Complex it’s rarely much of a threat to the combined might of infantry and Air Force. Germany, however, get’s systematically gutted down the middle, as KGF seems to the be Allied creed.

    We play with a 10 victory city condition, with each Nation rolling a single die to receive a random advantage, Heavy Bombers can only apply their 2-hit bonus for the first round of an attack, and the total number of IPCs that can be taken from a strategic bombing run is the IPC value of the territory, regardless of the # of bombers used.

    That said, I wanted to clarify a few strategic notions I’ve developed. As a new player, I understand they could be completely offbase, and could love some corrective criticism.


    1. A presence, however minor, in Africa is essential to tip the IPC balance which will otherwise crush the Axis players simply by the passage of time.
    2. Norway cannot be adequately defended in a manner that justifies the expenditure of troops necessary, vs. the 3 IPC income value - It is better to hold Karelia with a large Force posed to A) Trade/Counter-Attack, B) Press on to moscow, leaving a single infantry to avoid a Tank Blitz. Also, those 3 IPCs can easily be picked up elsewhere.
    3. Maintaining a carrier w/ FTRs inside of the Baltic with a moderate Subpen ensures that A) the direct route to Germany, by Sea, is a difficult road at best, B) An amphibious assault on Norway results in an -immediate- counterattack, laying waste to the allied Navy, at the expense of the German Navy. This is an acceptable loss considering it buys what Germany needs most: Time.
    4. The Key to the German side of fall of Moscow involves Archangel, rather than the direct route through the southern Russian Industrial Complex, because as forces build inside that territory, more and more Russian money must be diverted from their southern complex to reinforce their capital; Further, holding this location prevents allied land forces from reinforcing Moscow via Transport. Eventually, the southern Complex will fall from the threat of Archangel on their capital, and be taken swiftly through Air Force, Amphibious Mediterrainian assault, and troops in the Ukraine.
    5. Infantry is never a bad purchase. Especially in conjunction w/ a large Airforce, and transports rapidly shortening the distance to the ‘Front Lines’.
    6. Given three of the twelve victory cities are -not- capable of being reached without a Navy, building one from the start, and continuing to build it up is a necessary sacrifice to the ground battle against Russia. And while as a downside it takes tanks/infantry away from Moscow, it is further justified as it also forces the British/Americans to counterbalance w/ their fleet, depriving Russia of reinforcements.


    1. Pearl Harbor II is -always- a good move. The damage done, even with a counterassault from the Americans, sets them back several turns, particularly if an additional fighter from Japan is flown in to land on the Carrier.
    2. Transports are superior to Industrial Complexes because not only can they mobilize more forces into the Mainland, but they also leave a constant threat of invasion on Alaska, further splitting the American Juggernaut’s IPC expenditures, or at the least forcing a garrison.
    3. India threaten’s Caucus. Take it at all costs: It paves the road to Africa, Moscow, and deals a significant blow to the British Economy.
    4. An early attack on Moscow cripples the Axis. Early turns are a rush to gain grounds. Later turns involve the patient build of forces to acquire a single, sweeping victory, easily outmatching the Russian Infantry.

    Opening Moves:

    Our Russian Player is a man of methodical repetition: Infantry, Infantry, Infantry. He is loathe to risk his tanks, or fighters, placing value on their defensive capabilities in combination with his massive stockpiling of men. Admittedly, it is a strategy that works well for him. Afterall, even with German and Japanese men for fodder, attacking with tanks, the Axis will often be depleted of men long before he is. After his first turn, the board will generally appear as follows:

    Karelia has been drained of all but one infantry. West Russia holds a commanding position with between five-seven infantry, two artillery, and two tanks. Caucus is held with seven infantry, two tanks, and two fighters. Meanwhile, he has withdrawn from east asia, stacking eight infantry up into Yakut. Sinkiang is reinforced with four russian Infantry.

    As I am a fan of having the initial portion of the game statically calculated to unfold to more dependable strategy, my proposed opening German move is as follows:

    Purchase: 1 AC (Defend Baltic, Land 1 FTRs at end of turn), 8 Infantry.


    1. German Sub from SZ 8, moves to SZ 13 to engage Battleship. In addition, Fighters from Western Europe, Scandenavia, Germany, and Eastern Europe all join their sub to all but guarentee the British Battleship is destroyed. Sub soaks Battle Ship hit.

    2. 1 Art/1 Inf are loaded from Italy into Transport. Battle ship and Transport engage Destroyer, accompanied by German Bomber to once again ensure the Destroyer is removed from play without casualities (Battleship takes inconsequential hit, 50% of the time.)

    3. Amphibious Assault of 1 Art/1 Inf are unloaded into Anglo Egypt, followed by 1 Tank/1 Inf from adajacent country. Fighters from the Balkans and Ukraine are flown in, as well, making a favorable possibility of eliminating the Allied presence in one roll.

    4. Karelia is attacked w/ 3 Inf from Norway, 3 Inf from Belorussia, 2 Inf/1 Tank from Eastern Europe, 1 Tank each from Balkans/Ukraine, 2 Tanks from Germany and 1 Infantry Transported over by Baltic Transport.


    1. Battleship is destroyed, generally it is traded for the sub. Net Exchange of 16 IPC difference. Result: Entirely Acceptable. Worst case, fighter is also lost, shifting to 6 IPC difference. Result: Adequate

    2. Destroyer is destroyed, with no causalties nearly every time, completing destruction of Brittish Med Fleet. IPC gain of 12. Result: Entirely Acceptable.

    3. Anglo Egypt is invaded, generally leaving the Axis w/ 1 Tank and 1 Artillery. Net Exchange of of 10 IPCs, in addition to destruction of British Fighter, and isolation of Indian Fleet from Counterattack. Result: Excellent.

    4. Karelia is easily overrun, stacking a formmidable force of Tanks and Infantry, immune to Russian counterattack without serious repurcussions.


    1. Bomber back to Germany.

    2. 3 Fighters to Western Europe from SZ 13, 1 Fighers to Germany from SZ 13 (To be placed immediately on Carrier)

    3. Fighers from Anglo-Egypt land in Libya w/ Inf/Art advancing.

    4. 1 Infantry of Token Defense is left in Ukraine, and Belorussia. Remaining Art/Inf is withdrawn to Eastern Europe, Totalling 3 Inf/1Art.

    5. Western Europe is stacked w/ 3 Total Fighters, 3 Tanks, 5 Infantry to prevent an over ambitious British player from launching an early D-Day.


    1. Fighter + Carrier into Baltic.

    2. 2 Infantry into Southern Europe.

    3. Six Infantry in Germany to be sent towards the russians.

    My aim, with this opening move, is to jam my boot right up Africa’s ass, deplete the already-headed-towards-poverty-British of their naval strength, set up favorable trades for the Russians until more Infantry can be brought in their direction, and secure the northern road to Moscow, forcing them to draw forces away from Caucus. In addition, Norway is left wide open for British landing, but at the expense of their fleet.

    Subsequent turns will involve at least 16 IPCs spent on navy units, preferrably Baltic Subs, or Med Transports, in addition to heavy Infantry that will gradually replace the tanks in western Europe, freeing them up to be used against the Russians. As I see it, I’ve already got an adequate Panzer force. All I need to do is trade my infantry for Russian infantry, while Japan whittles away at their economy.

    Thoughts? Please, be as brutal as necessary to get your point across. I’m much more inclined to take heat on a forum, than when the actual game comes time, and my strategy falls to pieces. Thanks alot!

  • I think you have a very good grasp on the strategy! Much better than when I first started, and probably even better than I understand it now ; P

    You’re definitely very correct about Germany needing to maintain a good naval power in both Baltic and Meditteranean. Those are both extremely key to expanding in Africa and fending off the UK from raiding your coastal areas. I’d definitely hold off on building mass land units to go against Russia to keep these two locations. You will never ever be able to invade Russia anyways even if all you did was mass land forces, since your navies would be sunk and UK would raid your coast, forcing you to defend 3-4 coastal areas from possible invasions. And you’re correct about building lots of infantry to start with, both to replace the tanks in defensive locations, and also because they move very slowly so you have some time to get them to the front before you have enough transports to move them straight to ukraine or karelia.

    You’re also probably right about Norway falling quickly (uk can assault with 2 loaded transports, bombardment, 2 fighters and 1 bomber first turn). However you can choose to defend it a bit more with fighters or your initial transport ferrying a couple more infantry there. Even though it’s 3 IPCs, you might want to make him pay for it.

    You should also probably play till 9 victory cities. This is the accepted standard in tournaments because 8 obviously favors Axis too much, and 10 favors Allies because their last victory cities are extremely well fortified and delays the game immensely.

    Also I noticed one somewhat wrong thing about your proposed Japan strategy -

    Transports are superior to Industrial Complexes because not only can they mobilize more forces into the Mainland, but they also leave a constant threat of invasion on Alaska, further splitting the American Juggernaut’s IPC expenditures, or at the least forcing a garrison.

    Transports are definitely not necessarily better than industrial complexes. TTransports are definitley very useful to build on your 1st/2nd turn to give you mobility in invading Australia/Alaska and get your stuff off of mainland Japan. However, if you ever want to truly threaten Russia, then you absolutely must have an IC on the mainland. This is because transports create a delay for land units, since the loading/offloading takes away their entire move for the turn.

    For instance, if you have 2 transports lets say vs 1 IC on the mainland. With the transports, on the current turn you build 2 tank 2 inf. On the next turn, you transport them to the mainland. On the turn after that they can start moving. This creates a whopping delay especially for infantry who can’t keep up. However, if you had the complex on the mainland in indochina, you can buy 3 tanks. On the next turn they’re already able to move around, whereas the transport method they would just have landed and have to wait for next turn to move.

    In the very beginning you definitely need transports to get things moving, but for long term invasions into Russia you must get at least one complex on the mainland. I actually get 2 - one in India as well. Once you get the US navy under control you can put out 6 tanks per turn, which presents a major threat to the Russians and even Africa. The IC in India also lets you build a fast battleship or transport and unload in Africa very quickly whereas if you build stuff in Japan it takes a while to get there. Yeah, building the IC itself might basically cost you a turn because it costs a bunch, but in the overall run it speeds things up immensely.

    Also sometimes you absolutely need your tranports elsewhere invading islands or helping you take hits on defense. In this case if your transports are sunk, then you have no ability to get units on land within any reasonable amount of time. This makes your attacks heavily delayed on Russia, which is bad since usually Germany needs you to rear-end Russia a bit so it can live. Not to mention that transports can’t carry more than 1 tnak or inf per one, whereas you can buy up to 3 tanks at once at in IC.

    Other than that you have a very good grasp on the actual problems that Germany has. With Japan also once you do pearl harbor II then keep an eye on your options; I usually gun down straight for Australia quickly while the US is building up again; use the battleship/carrier and the transport to quickly annihilate the garrison, and if you fail on the first run then just take your transport and get two guys from the surrounding islands and bombard again. Also with Japan be very aware of how many fighters you have. Immediatley turn them into a huge land assault force if the US navy isn’t threatening; it can really ram Russia in the butt if you get it going with some land troops.

    From there you just want to keep a wary eye on the US transporting into Africa behind your back and the UK building up its own carrier to defend itself. You won’t be able to easily sink his Norway landing force if he himself gets a bigger navy. Just try not to lose your Baltic navy or you’ll suddenly find yourself playing in Russia’s position, which is defense. If you do lose your navy then you need to build fighters to sink his navy.

  • You’re full of it, dude. There’s no way you can be a new player, and already have devised a brilliant startegy like that. That being said, it seems like you already know what you’re doing, so lemme know how it goes! 😄

  • There’s no way you can be a new player, and already have devised a brilliant startegy like that.

    I agree with what he said. Either you’re some tactical genius or have way too much time on your hands staring at the board for a new player 😜

    I think it’s a pretty common misconception to think that transports are superior to complexes. People see that you can have 2 transports ferrying 4 units for slightly more than a complex which can only build 3 units with the land territories in Asia, but rarely do they see that this costs an extra turn to move units as well as what if they have to use those transports elsewhere or lose them, that takes more time and resources to compensate. But still building 3 transports to start is a very good move for the flexibility in the Pacific operations.

  • No, unfortunately there’s no tactical genius in me, while it is certainly a flattering notion. More likely the second option presented is the more realistic of the two; A new player with plenty of time to stare at the board, thanks to the Open Source TripleA program that’s essentially let me play myself several times and try our different approaches in the seat of each country.

    The issue that I’ve naturally run into is that it’s difficult for me to surprise myself in these ‘mock games’ and I’m almost certain I’m overlooking/underplaying various aspects of each of the powers. Hence seeking advice on these forums. 😉

    That in mind, what I -am- attempting is an opening strategy that set’s Germany up into a consistently good position, and minimizes collateral damage. I’ve come to suspect that without serious steps initially, the german fleet is doomed for the scrap heap, which in turn gives Germany it’s fairly likely death-by-Isolation from Africa, and the humiliating advance of an allied Reinforced Russia, even if/when Japan threatens from the otherside.

    One thing that I’ve already noticed on this opening move is that it relies on Russia withdrawing from Karelia, in favor of Western Russia which is not always the case. Further, while I believe that Western Russia is an excellent strategic position for the Russians, but it is likewise difficult for Germany to take it, and not get hit by a Russian screwfest from more angles than even Jenna Jameson could handle.

    But all in all, I feel fairly comfortable giving it a shot. The advantage I see is that the British Fleet is forced into hopeless irrelevance without serious IPCs spent; IPCs that would then be taken away from securing Asia from Japan. Russia is cut off from the much required aid from the Allies. And Africa faces no immediate threat, that cannot be counterattacked against, particularly if Gibraltiar(sp?) is taken in a subsequent turn to prevent allied air strikes.

    The disadvantage is that Russia faces less of an immediate threat from Germany, until it can spin up to speed from it’s African conquest; However, to counterbalance that point, I believe that Germany, regardless, cannot adequately threaten Russia without these steps as Allied reinforcement will eventually wear Germany into the ground, with or without Japanese intervention.

    Lastly, as far as Transports and Japan - Yes, I should have clarified that transports serve their purpose on initial turns, and then are replaced by mainland Industrial Complexes. Often times, our allied counterparts are fond of two-timing Japan with both a Sianking and Indian complex, however I have yet to see it effectively turn into anything but a dramatically powerful mid-game Japan as a result. The time it buys Russia is usually, as I’ve seen it played, inconsequential compared to the effective 30 IPCs handed over to the Japanese in a nice little gift-wrapped Complex. Not to mention, further, these IPCs aren’t used against Germany, which I believe only strengthens the Japanese role of taking heat off Germany.

    Anyway! Thankyou for the feedback, I certainly appreciate it, and I’d really like to hear some counterarguements from the individuals that voted against this strategy. I’m absolutely positive it needs refinement, and any help would be great.

  • Hannibal, I think you should czech out the Traditional vs. Alternate thread. I can tell you right now that I think Alternate is far superior; the real reason the game was made.

  • Cool. I’ll check it out. 🙂

  • The Key to the German side of fall of Moscow involves Archangel

    My advice, and AgentO would probably agree with me: stay away from Archangel and Karelia. The Brits will squash any surviving units you power into these zones. You may take them, but will leave yourself vunerable to British Amphibious counter-attack. And hel, they’re only worth 4 IPC’s collectively. Caucasus is the Key for ultimate German victory; everything else you said seems right on though!

  • The man makes a good point. Think of it like this. Russia goes first, right? So that right there is a disadvantage for Germany. Now, if Germany ever takes and holds Caucasus, Russia will fall. Or, at the very least, they will no longer be counted as a nation that can do anything about Germany, because it would be stupid to try and send units towards Berlin when the Nazis control a 4 value IC right next to Moscow. As long as Germany holds Caucasus, Russia is in deep trouble. :evil:

  • The road to Caucaus is paved with good intentions… And many, many dead soldiers.

    In my experience, albeit limited, I have found that an assault on Caucaus results in a direct counterattack from Moscow, depleting Germany dramatically, and further, that by not reinforcing the coast line essentially means that Brittan is unchecked as they slide troops, after troops into Russia. These man stack up, behind the men Russia is already dropping, and lead to Germany being beaten back, slowly but surely by combined forces that are overwhelming.

    I understand that the Brittish are capable of launching an amphibious assault, but with some foresight, such an assault can lead to the destruction of their fleet, cutting off both their ties to the mainland, as well as their reinforcement of Russia; Further, drawing men -away- from Caucaus, and -directly- threatening Moscow -leads- to the fall of Caucaus.

    The Russians are forced to retreat directly to their capital for fear of it falling, while Germany can then slide in to take that southern Factory…

    …So. I went ahead and gave that afforementioned strategy a try, this Sunday. Our game had several rough edges that need some definite fine tuning, but I’m happy to say it was a victory for the Axis. 🙂

    I’m going to continue plugging away at it, and I’ll let you all know how it turns out!

  • That’s good news! All I can say to further push my point is: Note that I said if Germany takes and keeps Caucasus. At that point, Caucasus just becomes a thorn in Russia’s side, because they’ll always be worried about a German IC right next door, and they won’t be attacking many gray territories (if any) until they re-take Caucasus, or get defeated.

  • Yeah! Definitely pretty exciting!

  • A couple of thoughts… I agree, taking caucas is key, get that factory, and if it looks like russia will be able to get it back, have japan land all its planes in there, usually around 4-6 planes can help defend and keep it yours.

    Also, you mentioned a Pearl Harbor being counter attacked by the americans… there really shouldnt be one, dont send in any BBs or trannies, just use that sub, the DD, and planes and bombers. Think of it as more of a strafing attack.

    Trannies are needed as japan in the beginning, but as soon as theyve cleared off all of japans islands, use them to take alaska.

    As germany, I might not buy infantry first round, if it works for you great, but one time you should just buy straight tanks for as many rounds as it seems possible. Plus, if russia was able to attack karelia, you would have nothing in range of making him pay for it, a first round purchase of tanks makes it posible for you to counter attack it. A stack of 25 tanks with a couple inf. and yer planes can be enuf to take russia down (sometimes). Also, I thought the amount of troops you were using in the first round defence of w.eur was too much. I would prolly use that baltic tranny to place another tank in karelia or something… also, I wouldnt buy 2 subs a round as germany, just get mo’ tanks! 😛

  • I like the idea of Japan landing planes in Germany’s territory, especially in Caucasus if Germany owns it. 4-6 planes, however, sounds like all of Japan’s available air force? That’s cool, as long as Japan doesn’t leave their soft underbelly exposed. 😉

  • Indeed it would only be a strategy to be used if REALLY needed, but could be whats needed to win.

  • ok,my advice for ger is simple.u MUST attack with every unit that is available for attack evrywhere.

    now more detailed.dont worry about the ruskies concentrate on that allied navy.destroy the uk bb in med, and while ur at it use the trasp along with 1 fighter from balk or ukr(not sure where it comes from but dont use one of the west coast of ger) and have nside the transp 2 inf to offload at africa.if u have a lucky roll use the inf and art in and tank on north africa towards egypt.if u get uk to lose 1 or 2 units for all yours is in your favor.let hime keep his plane,you dont mind.remember that this units could be transported to india via the transp he you help ur ally by sacrificing some back to that nal battle,dont even think to lose the loaded transp-just kill the fighter is necessary.u can use there also the sub.use ur baltic ships to put them next to the uk.ur goal is to kill the uk and us fleet and rest ur back.then russia. 😉

    remember that the russian is no threat to u in the first 2 rounds.let hime try and capture all he can.if u see fi just make counterattacks and graps back what YOU lose.dont go yet for russia.the first 2 rounds of ger shoul be concetrated imo to the uk and the us fleet.sacrifice planes and ships to destroy that fleet,while at the same time buy air reinforc at the rate of 2 planes per turn at least.the rest goes into tanks and inf(art if u play advantages and get that amazing 3def for arts!!).

    remember,russia will not hold on too much against u.if there is no naval force to releif it from its allies the game is over.dont think to reinforce ur fleet though unlees u see the uk do guess is the us will try to help the uk with ships but japan and its grasp of the asia will be a dilema.

    anyway thats all…

    ps:if u feel lucky and dont mind ruining the game just buy 8 dices in the first round and go for long range.attack uk with 1tank and 1 inf and all planes possible.if russia hasnt killed any ull have 5 fight and i doenst matter if they take it back because ull do exactly the same thing in the next round and take it back again.even if u loss 3-4 planes or more, the trans from the med can come allong with the bb to help the new invasion.i dont played that type anymore though cause it ruins the game.its a shame that the uk is left so helpless.

    have fun and tell me if it worked out for u!!ger is the most fun country to play imo!!


  • Hi Hannibal (ante portas),

    In fact, I agree with pretty much you said. Surely I couldn’t keep up with your tactical understanding when A&A was new to me. So congratulations at first.
    Nevertheless there’s some more input. Just my humble opinion:

    1. Except of the Baltic AC in your first round, ships usually don’t buy for Germany. If you really want to build 1-2 Subs/Trans in the Baltic each turn you’ll have to stay there with your own navy or they’ll be sunk immediately with british airforce. UK and US can together close you up in the Baltic and wait for your attack, of course it will be costly for them, but usually more expensive for you.

    2. You are quite right about going through the north is a superior strategy. Karelia is a very strong position for both sides. As the axis you should take and hold it in the first round. UK has different options to support Russia. His support in NWY can be strafed to death by your forces in Karelia. Better to cut of your supply lines in EEU after your Baltic fleet is removed. Or, most likely, he can support Archangel, so you’ll meet the main UK/Rus forces in ARC.
      If you wanna go south through UKR, Russia will concentrate it’s forces in CAU and the UK can take a lot of your income away from you. You won’t be able to trade more than one territory with Russia (WRU), but it’s harder for Russia to trade a lot of countries (due to the max. of 3 Ftrs)
      In fact, I most likely wait in KAR until the japanese player puts preassure on Russia which forces the allies to retreat on my front, then I take a step into WRU.

    3. Don’t underestimate a US counterattack on Pearl Harbour. Especially if the go KJF it’s very hard to replace your lost navy again. An aggressive british opening in the Pacific and a Pearl counter, 2 ICs in IND and SIN and Japan is in big trouble.

    4. You are quite lucky that your Russian player is rather predictable. Maybe he should be more aggressive, attack UKR, build some tanks or even a Ftr, etc.

    These are just my opinions and can, of course, vary in different games and against different ways to play. I hope this gives you some input.

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